Recently, a Christian evangelist in Scotland was arrested and accused of a hate crime, simply for quoting from the Bible. A homosexual teenager asked the preacher what God’s views on homosexuality were. In response, the preacher, Gordon Larmour, “referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children.” He was promptly arrested, he spent an evening in a jail cell and his case took six months to resolve. Although the judge cleared him of any wrongdoing, what does it say that quoting the Bible can land you in a Scottish prison?
In the aftermath, Mr. Larmour stated that “I feel they try so hard to appear like they are protecting minorities, they go too far the other way. I want to be able to tell people the good word of the Gospel and think I should be free to do so. I wasn’t speaking my opinions – I was quoting from the Bible.” A few years back, there was a somewhat similar incident in England. A Baptist church in Norfolk posted a sign about Hell, and it offended a few people. So, the Norfolk Police investigated the incident and the church took the sign down. At the time, this blog observed “Ultimately, the Bible is very clear about Hell. As a result, Christians warn people about it because we love them and want them to be saved. If that’s a hate crime, so be it.”
To the world, the Gospel is a ‘hate crime’ of sorts. Even the Bible says that the Cross offends people (Galatians 5:11). After all, God created a perfect world, but the first humans, Adam and Eve, sinned and wrecked everything. Their rebellion brought death and suffering into the world. Fortunately, God promised a Savior that would set things right. Jesus died for our sins and He rose again three days later (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we repent of our sins and receive Him as Lord, we are saved from the coming judgment (Romans 10:9-10). Indeed, Jesus is coming back to establish His Kingdom in its fullness, and He will punish those who have rejected Him (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Every knee will bow before Him and His Kingdom will never be destroyed (Philippians 2:9-11).
Naturally, this message offends people, because it means all of us are sinners in need of a Savior. Yet, the Gospel embodies God’s love. The Bible says “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No, the real ‘hate crime’ is not preaching the Gospel, given the eternal consequences of refusing God’s mercy. Consequently, no matter what the punishments may be in this life, committed followers of Jesus will continue to quote the Bible and preach the good news of Christ’s death and Resurrection. Like Paul said, “Yes, woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)